New muffler for the 1998 Honda Civic EX

It has been sometime since my last post.  Its not that I have become bored of my blog, I actually started a full time contract that is more than full time.  Actually working 60 hours a week has cut into my hobbies, thankfully it is almost over and things should return to normal in another month or so.

Meanwhile the commuter car, the “mighty civic” had a muffler problem.  What started slowly as a slightly loud exhaust eventually turned into something that sounded like a bad lawn mower without a muffler.  I could hear it over the radio in the car.  One day I look under to see the muffler complete separated from pipe coming form the cat and hanging only by the rubber mounts.

What is one to do? Buy a new one and install it yourself of take it to a shop?  I went with the former. to the rescue, never thought I’d order from amazon but the parts were cheap and an exact fit.  The local places wanted to sell me multiple parts and pieces.  I didn’t want Honda dealer prices, its a muffler, how hard can it be to make.


The new muffler unwrapped from the bubble wrap.  I transferred the rubber mounts over. Come complete with heat shield.

I ordered a bolt and spring set as well.  When I removed the bolts I broke them both thinking, no bid deal the nuts will fall to the ground.  Nope, that didn’t happen.  Turns out they were welded to the cat pipe.

Plan B, remove whats left of the old bolts with vise grips from the back of the cat pipe flange.  This worked after a bit of penetrating oil.


The new versus the old.  Notice the springs are flat on the old.  This give that much needed little bit more room to install the bolts.  I used the old springs with the new bolts and all was good.


Ready with the new crush flange thing, order this separate along with the bolts.

Install was easy once I went with the original springs.  Maybe a c clamp would have helped but I was working on the street with one wheel up on the sidewalk and the wheels chocked.


All nicely connected.  Much quieter!!


Looks good.

Three-Legged Stool from Paul Sellers book Working Wood 1 & 2

Next up from the Paul Sellers book, the three legged stool.    Starting with a 8′ long 2×12 of douglas fir I cut out two squares.  One I cut out on the bandsaw, the other with a chisel.  The one on the right in the following photo was with the bandsaw.  It was quick an easy, I could have also used my router with the circle cutting jig, or used a circle cutting jig on the bandsaw.  I see no problems with how its cut out, the end goal is a circular piece of wood.


Figuring the point of the book was also to try new techniques, I made a second seat.  Chiseling a circle is actually remarkably easy.  The grain was pretty straight so it split of quite nicely.  So if you don’t have a bandsaw, don’t fret a chisel works just fine.


I did have to be careful as I got very close to my line.


All done, not so bad, next round I’ll stick closer to the line all the way around  You’ll notice the coping saw in that picture, I did use it to take care of some of the cross grain on the ends, easier than the chisel.


Marking the seat with pencil to help guide the spokeshave rounding over of the seat.  The first seat I forgot to do the guidelines and my experience with the spokeshave made for ok results.  The guidelines on the second seat made things go much faster and more uniform than without.  The Record 151 Spokeshave made yet another appearance here.


Both seats ready to go.

Next up was drilling the holes.  I used a brace and bit.  The first seat I used an adjustable sized bit to drill the holes as I did not have a 1″ bit.  The adjustable did not cut cleanly through when I switched sides.  As soon as it broke through it was off center and you are done.  This left me to  have to clean the rest out with a rasp.

So I ordered up some old “vintage”  bits from Ebay, maybe I’ll show them in another post as I am missing the photos but it included a 1 inch bit.  The 1 inch bit worked better than the adjustable as it stayed self centered when drilling from both sides.


Marking the centers of three legs preparing them to round over.  I ripped these on my wood bandsaw.


Rounding the legs over with the #4 Bailey plane.  Notice the bar clamp, this one from Tools For Working Wood, made by Dubuque Clamp Works.  Heavier duty than what you can find at harbor freight and super light (cheaper than my steal clamps and way lighter, happy to get them from an American company). As Paul says the bar clamp in the bench vise makes for a great way to work without a tail vise and placed the work up where it is easy to handle. I worked one at a time and test fitted as I went. Be sure to mark which ones go where once you start fitting.


Three legs fit and ready to assemble.  The ones in this photo still need the bottom of the legs rounded over.


Ready for slots to be cut for the wedges.  I used Oak on one and Walnut on the other.


Both stools are complete.  Bandsaw version and the chiseled version.  Spokeshave didn’t care 🙂  It was nice to build them without a lathe as I have not room for one at this time.


Lightly sanded with my festool sander/vac combo and given two coats of shellac with a light hand sanding  between coats.  These will be shipped of as a gift for friends who just had twins.  Since they are 12 inches tall they should be a perfect fit in a year :).

Working Wood 1&2 Hand Carved Spoons

After making the spatulas from Paul Sellers book I decided to try my hand at making a wooden spoons.   I broke the last wooden spoon I had and figured I could give this a shot and make some new ones with larger handles.  I stopped into Paxton Lumber in Denver and founds some maple cutoffs in the 50c per board foot box. Score!

I had a set of two plastic spoons that I do like that I used for a template.  I would go with bigger handles to make them easier to hold and harder to break.

Tools used:

  • Band Saw (trimming down blanks)
  • Record 151 Flat Bottom Spokeshave
  • Record 151 Round Bottom Spokeshave (optional)
  • Two Cherries Carving Gouge 7/20
  • 180 Sandpaper
  • Record Vise
  • Mallet

First step, trace out the spoons. You can see I fit 5 on this board.  2 small ones and 3 large.




Using a Two Cherries 7/20 gouge I started to carve out the spoons.

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I got lots of practice as I had 6 to work on.  Much easier to get it all out of the way while the board clamps solidly in the vise.  I used the smaller spoon as the inside template for the large spoon.  For the two small spoons I just moved the small spoon I was using as a template and retraced it a few times until I had a good 1/4″ boarder.  The gouge laughed at the maple and cut through it without much trouble.  I have not learned how to sharpen the gouge yet, it made it through the spoons without dulling.


The first 5 spoons carved out ready for the bandsaw to trim them out.  2 blanks that are ready for the spokeshave.

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The other board was extra thick so I made a deeper spoon.


Roughed out and ready to go.  I did take this one back to the bandsaw to trim the top as maple is hard wood and that is mainly end grain. The large spoon I trimmed the handle as well since this one would be a flat handle unlike the others which are round.

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Let the trimming begin.  Sharpened the Record 151 flat bottomed spokeshave and got to work.  First starting with a thick cut and then fine tuning for the finish work.  Maple is not the softest of woods but this sharp spokeshave made quick work of it.  Grain direction was elusive sometimes, I was changing directions regularly until I figured things out to minimize the tear-out.

I started with the spoon part first, doing one side then the other.  I would occasionally use the round bottom Record 151 spokeshave for the tight curves where the spoon met the handle.  The round bottom was much harder to use but I am starting to get used to it.


Once all the trimming was done I would finish each spoon off with a scraper to remove any tear-out and spokeshave lines.  Made for a pretty good looking spoon.


The final set of 6 ready for finish, most likely mineral oil.


Are they perfect, no.  I could have sanded the ends of the handles on the belt sander for a nice slick round end.  I chose to round them instead with the super sharp spokeshave and leave them uneven.  The Record 151 did quite well on the end grain.  I have seen places recommend a low angle version for end grain.  Maybe down the road I’ll try a low angle spokeshave or get a kit like this one from Tools for Working Wood.  In the mean time,  a very sharp 151 works just fine.

The spoons got better with each one I did.  I did a rough pass and then a fine finish pass to clean things up.  Multiple rounds with the scrapers and putting them in the sun to see marks.  Maple is quite hard and did not make things easy but the results are well worth the work.

I did sharpen 3 times I think throughout the process.  Maybe overkill but I am just getting used to both the tools and the sharpening process.  Each honing took about 3 minutes, just enough to bring em back on the water stones, 1000/4000/8000.  Possibly a strop is in order next time I get to Tandy to bring back the edge a bit without honing.

Wood Spatulas a project from Working Wood 1&2

Paul Sellers has a project on learning how to carve wood.  I cannot say I am a sculptor by any definition but some things can be learned. I started by using a coping saw to cut out the rough shape.  I did this on piece of oak as well but I do not have a picture of that one.   I simply sketched out something that looked like a spatula resembling the shape in Paul’s book.  I cut out the rough shape with a coping saw.  Coping saws work….slowly, I’ll look at more course blade for next time.


With the rough shape, I had to thin it down a bit.  Now the spokeshave did a great job on the oak.  It made quick work of things.  When it came to the maple, not so quick.  Sharp is key for maple, so I honed up the spokeshave blades and got to it.


The final Oak version


Maple, well there was a casualty.  While using the brace and bit to drill the hole I made a mistake.  I felt the bit getting tight, should have have reacted to the wood.  Instead I went a little further and it split.  Well this is supposed to be a learning experience and an hours work knocking down the 3/4″ maple out the window when I went to drill the final hole.  Before and after:


So round 3 entered the wood bandsaw.  Maple is hard wood to cut much less plane down to spatula thickness.  Since I have that wood bandsaw shown in an earlier post I decided to use it to re-saw the 3/4″ maple giving me stock for 2 spatulas instead of 1.  I also used it to trim close to the lines for less work with the spokeshave.  To the purist hand tool worker out there, I don’t have unlimited time and well its my time so I went down the hard road twice and well enough of that.


Notice I drilled first this round before I re-sawed so as not to split the maple.


First one starts to take shape very quickly thanks to the bandsaw doing the worst of the stock removal. I used a Record 151 spokeshave.  I picked it up the flat bottom spokeshave from Jim Bode Tools for a good price, the blade was full and a perfect user.  I also picked up a round bottom, much more difficult to use I noticed but I was able to make it work for the tight curve.


The final collection all treated with mineral oil.  You can see I did not really use a template, something for next round. Onto spoons!




A hand tool workbench based off of Paul Sellers’ plans

I have two tiny workbenches in a attic with a sloping roof.  I can stand for about 2 feet if I am just under the peak.  The benches are old workbenches that look to be from a school or the university.  One had a tail vise with out a screw, it worked on a cam lock mechanism.  I added a Record vise to the other bench and that helped significantly in my trying to cut dovetails.  But at 6′ 3″ and a bench at 33″ was just not going to work long term.

I also have 2 Festool tables that are fantastic to cut sheet stock on and to move around.  Unfortunately they are not rigid enough for planing without having it against a wall and even then questionable.

What to do?  I have 4 perfectly good benches but they are not for hand tools.  I guess I would call the first two more of cabinets and the Festool’s are tables.  I looked at Chris Schwarz’s books on building workbenches and design.  I was waiting for the DVD on the Nicholson Bench from Lost Art Press.  While I was waiting I discovered Paul Sellers.  Paul has been a craftsman for 45 years using all sorts of benches and hand tools.  I started watching some of his videos and started his Wood Working Master Class website (a steal at 15 dollars a month).  The short story is I made a modified Paul Sellers Youtube bench crossed with his Bench from the book Working Wood 1& 2.

Why Paul’s bench?  Its cheap, made out of douglas fir.  A grand total of 130 dollars was spent on the wood.  If I don’t like it, well that is a pretty cheap investment when it comes to a workbench and I can always use it for firewood.  I have heard people making them out of maple which last I checked was north of 7 dollars a board foot.  I’d rather make furniture with maple, that is just me. The Nicholson bench linked above would have been a great options as well.  I am space constrained at the moment so maybe next round.

Tool well, yes I chose a tool well.  I know Schwarz devotees (everyone on the Internet is an expert) will frown upon that , but this is my bench :).  I had a Stanley Number 8 shimmy itself of the Festool table as I was planing the bench top.  Lesson learned. I ebay’d a new plane body and there will not be any shimmying or knocking off the bench with a tool well.

On to the build, it took a few tries to get started.  I got all my lumber from Boulder Lumber in town.  I glued up the top once and manually planed each board after they went through the delta surface planer.  Well I learned I sucked at planing.  I needed practice and I got it on this project.  I took off too much on some, not enough on the other.  I was not happy with the first glue up as it had a few gaps.  I ended up scrapping it  and taking it to the bandsaw to cut the legs out of it.  So not really lost, just re-purposed.  I went back to Boulder Lumber and picked up some more wood, this time paying close attention for knots on the sides of the 2x stock (I did not do this carefully enough previously).  Planing and gluing the second round went much better.


I didn’t take pictures of the planing though I filled a compost bag or two full of shavings. The aprons and bench tops are glued up.  I did use a Bailey #4 and a Lie Nielsen #4 to smooth up the 2x stock before gluing.  My gluing needs some work as the aprons did not glue up well.  I had to re-glue the end of one, lesson here, don’t remove the clamps early….

The legs.  Mortises cut with a crappy sharp 1/2 chisel with mallet recommended by Paul on his blog.  Worked great.  I had never cut mortises before and I thought it would be a lot harder. Paul’s technique on his you tube videos worked great.

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All done except for the notches for the the tenon at the top.  I didn’t leave room for a tail vise, I thought about it but it didn’t happen.

The tenons.  I sawed the first one, it seemed like it took a while.  I may have to sharpen my handsaw :(. I setup a knife line and chiseled to it first to create a guide.


The rest of them I chiseled since Paul’s book recommend trying it out.  It worked well on about 50% of the tenons.  It was interesting to try though as I learned a lot about how the grain works.  About half had straight grain so they chiseled real nice and made for some quick work.  The others, well they were questionable with the grain going down into a bowl and angling down.  It was a good first attempt and I don’t care too much for looks.


The aftermath of chiseling.


Cleaning up after the chiseling with a block plane and the Stanley 71 1/2 router plane to get uniform depth.


The legs glued up.  The Festool table worked great or clamping and passable for chiseling.

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The Festool table allowed me also to clamp the assemblies flat to the table.

The tenons and shoulder on the top cross member can be seen below. The second picture has the bearer screwed to the top. I did not clean up the glue at this point.

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The legs rest in a dado on the apron which helps to stabilize the bench.


Knife line again followed by the chisel to begin.


Next step was to clean it out with the router plane.


I was debating on adding Paul’s wedges to make it a knock down bench.  I was initially thinking I would just glue and screw the aprons to the legs.  I waited an evening and decided it might be nice to take it apart as I can’t lift heavy things very well.  It was a good choice as the wedges make the bench rock solid.  Even if I glued it I would want to have the wedges in for extra stability.  Basically you make the dado wider on the apron to insert a wedge as shown below.  I then made a piece of wood to hold the wedge in.

Note:one of the aprons twisted after glue up, good ole construction lumber.  It was a good opportunity to try out the winding sticks and try to remove the twist.  I removed a lot of material to get it close to flat.  I didn’t have the time or patience at this point to go buy more 2×6’s and redo the apron.  I put the challenged on the back of the bench.


Note, when you attach the aprons, check for square!  I apparently skipped this step so my bench ended up askew by a half an inch 😦 .  Its a bench so it was a good lesson learned and will not hurt functionality.

With the aprons attached it was time to glue the laminated tops to the aprons.

Note:I did hand plane the tops after I sent them though the Delta surface planer :). Glue up was quick and this time I left the clamps on overnight.


As you can see I went with a short bench on the back of the tool well as I figured it might be handy if I was working with a large piece of furniture to have the something more substantial than just a back rail.  Time will tell whether this was a good idea or not.  I am space challenged so I could not do the full depth bench that would have been 36″

Note: A good time to talk about height.  You’ll look at the picture and say damn that is high!  Yes it is, I am 6′ 3″ and I have lower back issues that get annoyed by having to hunch over (hunching over is bad even if you back is healthy).  So I made my bench 42″. 42 inches you say, yes, its my bench and it works for me but may not work for all.  If it is too tall after I use it for a few months I can cut off the legs an inch at a time, I can’t add it as easily! Paul has a good link on heights of people and benches.


Trimming up the tool well with the Festool TS75.  I am short a handsaw for ripping at the moment and well I am lazy with a TS55 panel saw handy.  Yes its cutting in the middle of the living room.  The dust collection is amazing on this saw with the Festool Midi HEPA vac.


It didn’t take too long to trim the well board with the plane to make it fit perfectly

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Dado for the well board so it will rest down lower to give more space. This was done with a handsaw for the sides followed by a chisel to clean out the bulk and a router plane to finish.

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Time to flatten the top!  Took out the #5 Bailey that I have setup as a scrub plane to rough depth the top. I then cleanup with a Number 4.  I must have sharpened the Bailey iron better than the Lie Nielsen,  as it planed some great shavings verus the Lie Nielsen (entirely user error).

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Notice the diamond stone and water stones at the back.  I had not sharpened things since I started and well that gave me some unexpected tear out.  I stopped and sharpened the planes up and what a difference.


The well board is cut to length and chamfered on the bottom to match up to the tops. The bench is almost done.

Time to add a vise.  I thought about how Paul did it, he held the heavy vise up against the bench and traced things.  Paul has a healthier back then me so I went the way of non lifting, I made a template.  I started with the basic measurements of where it was going like Paul did, then I put that on a template.  I flipped the vise on its back on the bench and completed the template leaving some room for adjusting the vise. You can see the template material is expensive construction grade cardboard held together with industrial tape :).

Note: I did not leave enough room for the quick release to work but that was fixed in about 30 seconds with a chisel and I didn’t even have to remove the vise.

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Template was then taped to the bench where I colored in the cutout as I had some markings on the side before the template idea came to me.


Time to cut it out.  Brace and bit, chisel, sure I could do that, but I had a cordless drill.  I drilled a few starter holes and grabbed the jigsaw.


Festool again, picked it up off of craigslist and the dust extraction is great.  Remember I am finishing this in the living room and dust collection is critical.


All done, now for the vise. The vise is a Record #53 purchased off of ebay for 200 dollars plus 48 shipping. Even with my 3/4 baltic birch on the the 10 1/2″ jaws it still opens to 14 inches. I will add a dog to the vise shortly, I also need to look at installing some bench dogs.

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Heavy, yes, and with the vise even more.

Stable!!! I could not have imagined how stable this bench is with no glue on the legs.  It doesn’t shimmy a bit.  The wedges lock it down solid.  The mortise and tenon’s on the legs allow for zero movement.  Not bad for a first mostly hand tool adventure.  Now I can work on some real projects now I have a stable bench.  And I learned a lot about planing, chiseling, and sawing on a workbench that cost 130 in wood.  Much better to learn on the bench then with expensive hardwoods.

That said, could I make the bench better a second round, yes.

  • One I have a stable bench to work on which is half the battle.
  • Two, sharp tools make life so much easier.  Stop and sharpen.
  • Understanding grain directions and how it affects both planing and chiseling.  I have some tear out on the top but its a bench, it will be hammered on, chiseled into, etc.  I will not make the same mistakes on a hardwood project.
  • Glue up, leave the clamps on longer if the boards have any bow whatsoever

New Headlights on the 2005 Jeep Wrangle LJ from Daniel Stern Lighting

Everyone who has driven a Jeep Wrangler TJ or LJ knows the headlights are terrible.  Having grown tired of not being able to see in the mountains or in town for that matter I decided to look into upgrading the stock headlights.  Turns out there is very little good information out there on how to properly upgrade your jeep headlights.  By properly I mean how to best light the road with minimal emptying  of the wallet and doing it safely.

Truck lites were an option, though I was told they don’t melt the snow and ice very well (a problem they are working on I have read) also I could not find much DOT info on them.    Well snow and ice melting is a top requirement as it snows in the mountains, truck lites were out.

There was a replacement sealed bulb out there that looked to be ok and around 150 I think a pair.  Not a bad solution but it seemed an incremental upgrade.

Most of the other crap by the online 4 wheel drive stores had me questioning the performance and safety.

Surfing one evening I came across a headlight thread that said to check out Daniel Stern.  Who is Daniel Stern?  He is apparently a automotive lighting consultant.  This sounds promising, someone who might actually know something about headlights other than “they look bright” or “I ordered from  so and so .com and bolted them on”.  After a few email exchanges we came up with a solution for my lights.

  • Cibie H4 units
  • Some bulbs to go with the lights
  • Relay kit to rewire for  the new lights

First off he has some great links that show the differences between different headlights and how the beam is directed at the road.  The light is only useful if it is on the road in front of you.  Stock lights , very little light makes it to the road and not enough to see like a newer car headlights can.  The light patttern for the Cibies was wider than the Hellas I was looking at.  Is this important, yes. More light on the road and not in oncoming drivers eyes is a primary headlight requirement.

Relay kit?  Why do I need a relay kit you say?  A new wiring setup to your headlights , even your stock headlights is beneficial.  The stock wiring is too small of a wire gauge and can’t handle the power requirements of the new headlights. There is a voltage drop and even the stock headlights do not get full power given the small gauge stock wiring.  The thicker gauge wire on the new setup eliminates the voltage drop and supports the higher amp draw of new headlights.  Now there is a perfectly good detailed writeup at Moab Jeeper on this very topic in detail with many pictures, so I will not add much more here.

Tools Needed:

  • Safety Glasses
  • Torx T15 for removing headlights and headlight bezel
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  • Solder gun ( a high amp version as you are soldering 12 gauge stranded wire which sucks up a lot of heat)
  • Solder
  • Heat Shrink
  • Drill
  • Self tapping screws to attach relay boxes
  • zip ties

The kit does not come with wire.  It does come with relays, relay blocks, all the appropriate pins, fuses, plugs, and crimp connectors one needs for the installation. Could you get all this yourself?  Of course you can buy it all yourself, but probably not for less than Daniel’s price plus time lost searching down all the parts and pieces plus shipping. Daniel provides it all  in one shot and that time savings is worth it to me.


Now for wire I actually ordered the 12 gauge stranded from AutoZone in red and black 100 ft rolls each since I am most likely rewiring 3 jeeps.  I picked up the plastic wire wrap (1/2 and 3/8) for a few bucks to protect the cable at our local McGuckin Hardware. The 18 gauge for the relay connections I purchased at Home Depot.


Now the setup at Moab Jeeper is great and I followed it as my guide except I used the provided spring connectors for the headlights.  The springs are quite strong on the headlight connector and I have no concerns that they will fail.  So omitting the solder connections for the headlights,  my install was the close to the same. The spring connecter is below:


I chose to use the spot just above and to the right of the passenger side headlight to mount the relays. This gave plenty of room to remove the headlight connector without any issues. Beware the wires you are running are hot all the time to the relays from the battery.  With this in mind, wrap them with a plastic protective shield and be careful of the routing.  My fuses are near the battery so if they shorted it would not cause a huge problem except for lack of headlights.  I carry spare fuses in my glovebox in case they ever fail.  The relay on the left is for Low Beams, the relay on the right for High Beams.  It looks to be the same relay as the lockers in the relay box so if one ever failed I could swap in an emergency.


I chose to have the fuses near the battery so I spliced, soldered, and heat shrinked the fuse connectors to the ends of my cables at the battery.  I did use the crimp on connectors for the battery but then thinking these are for headlights, I’d hate for them to fail in the dark in the middle of the mountains.  I then soldered the crimp connectors after I crimped them for solid contact. The fuses you can see next to the battery handle on the left in the picture below.  Since I removed the battery connectors to do this installation it was also a good time to clean up any corrosion from the terminals and battery.



The protected cable comes in on the left side of the hood by the relay/fuse box.


The instructions for connecting the relays are on the Moab Jeeper link and cover it well.  The relay control though comes from your existing headlights.  Daniel includes a connector for this  in the kit.  This is step 19 on Moab Jeeper where they diverted and just solder tabs to the end to place into the headlight plug.  Soldered tabs or connector, I don’t see much  plus or minus to the build,  to each their own, both look to be solid.

Looking at the back of  the new connector one just needs to solder the left wire for highs,  the right wire set is for grounds to both relays, the top is for lows.  Connecting the relay ends to the signal and ground for the new relays as shown in the article.

All done and I tested the lights hooking up only the passenger side first.  The light was significantly better with just the wiring upgrade only.

The Cibie headlight swap was easy, remove the screws, pull the connector, reverse.

Aiming was pretty straight forward from Daniels site with a few caveats:

  • Requires a T15 Torx screwdriver
  • Requires a 25′ Measuring tape
  • Headlights are 32″ center to center on the LJ/TJ.
  • Use blue painters tape, easy to see at night and easy to remove
  • Best to aim with the bezel still off if you can
  • Level ground is critical for 25′  from jeep to wall/object you are aiming to
  • Careful adjusting the headlights as the unit is plastic!  There are three adjusting screws though the service manual says there are 3.
    • Driver side, top right, bottom right and bottom left
    • Passenger side, top left,  bottom left, bottom right
  • Beware the plastic housing for aiming is very fragile!  If you don’t adjust the third screw along with them you can over stress the plastic housing and break it.  These are about 12o bucks new, an expensive mistake.  I picked up a new on for my TJ that I was adjusting due to new tires for 86 plus shipping from  Note they are a different part number for each side of the vehicle.
  • There is a noticeable horizontal cutoff, way cool actually versus non focused stock lights.

Pictures don’t do justice as cameras and adjustments in lighting on laptops, etc vary.  All I can say is I am very happy with the setup.  Almost as much as the truck lites but I do not know the performance and safety of them and there is that ice melting issue.   I think the rewire would benefit any of the solutions one would go with.  Now to rewiring the TJ and maybe a JK.


So please check out Daniel Sterns’ Lighting site, he has responded by email and answered all my questions.

Also check out Moab Jeeper for the rewire.

The HumanaLight – A Flashlight That Uses Your “Dead” AA Batteries

This falls into the general theme of my blog. A cool project, doesn’t take much work but is very cool.

Dave Richards AA7EE

A couple of weeks ago, I was spending a very pleasant hour or so waiting in the front yard for the mail carrier to deliver some packages of vintage radio parts I had ordered a few days earlier. My neighbor’s cat Stephen was lounging around with me, and it was one of those perfect afternoons where time almost stands still. It was warm, with a slight breeze and as Stephen and I lay on the garden path looking up at the sky, I nearly forgot the reason for my being out there in the first place.

Eventually, the mail carrier arrived and Stephen took off. He’s an indoor/outdoor kitty, so mistrust of humans he doesn’t know is a valuable trait. The mailman handed me two packages packed with vintage dials and other parts – and another, smaller packet from my friend Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL. Inside was a kit to build…

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Hand Cut Nails You Say?

My hand cut nails arrived today!  Yes, hand cut nails, the old school way from the Tremont Nail Company.

What inspired hand cut nails to be ordered?  Chris Schwarz wrote the book The Anarchist’s Tool Chest, which is less about anarchy and more about making a hand tool storage chest.  Now when I read the book I had the intentions on making the chest but since reading I realized I have no room for it and need something more portable.   The book on the chest is a great read as Chris is a very engaging author and is worth it whether you build it or not.

The requirement of moving tools up and down stairs pushed me to the portable configuration.  I now plan on making a Paul Sellers portable tool box first, then as I find room the chest.

I ordered the nails also to make the packing box in the Joiner and The Cabinet Maker, also by Chris Schwarz and Joel Moskowitz.  This is a basic shipping box for back when we didn’t have cardboard.  Should be a fun project and will be a future post.


You can see in the photo I have Fine Finish, Clinch Rosehead, Decorative Wrought Head and Headless nails.  The main advantage to these over wire cut nails from the big box is they hold better. The other advantage is they look way cool!  You can make period furniture or even new designs an incorporate a bit of old school style and strength.  These nails won’t pop out.  Soon to be some projects where you’ll see these in practice.

Record 44 Plow Plane Arrived From England Today

Well I had a Record 43 plow plane I picked up from Jim Bode Tools for 75 bucks with shipping included.  What is a plow plane you ask?  It is a plane that cuts a groove in wood, like a dado blade on a table saw or  a straight bit on a router.  The blog Hand Made in Wood had a nice post on the Record 43.  Then as I am watching Paul Sellers Woodworking Masters Class (15 bucks a month, an absolute steal!!!!) on building a tool chest I see I need a 3/8″ plow plane.  Well crap, my Record 43 only goes to 5/16!  I read I could fit a 3/8 iron in my Record 43 but I could not find any on ebay.  I think I could have stuffed a chisel in there as well but what fun is that.

So the search began for a Record 44 when I found one on Ebay in England for 30 pounds.  No one bid on it, apparently Records are all over England and the locals must have thought it was over priced.  Well it was right priced for me.  Shipping was 20 pounds.  So a grand total of 87 dollars.  2 1/2 weeks later Fed Ex delivers it to my door 🙂 from across the ocean.

I didn’t realize it came in the original box, the top was not attached to the box as the tape had worn out but otherwise it was a barely touched plane with all the cutters.


The cutting irons all the way from 1/8″ to 9/16″  and I am told you can go bigger but who needs more than that.  I can also use these in the 43.  The grooves provide for depth of cut adjustment on the Record 45, very cool.  The irons are not razor sharp so I have some honing to do.


The plane in parts.  It came with both short and long guide bars for the fence.  That pesky lever cap that holds down the irons needs to be tied to the handle, they have a habit of jumping ship.  So much so you can find the plans to make a replacement here The site also has some Record history here


Here it is with the short guide bars installed.


And another shot of the box.


This is going to be a user.  For 162 bucks I got 2 plow planes and complete sets of irons.  They can cut grooves for panels, moldings, etc.  Its quicker and easier to set up than my router.  Alas I could have bought the Lee Valley, its pretty but its new and 275 dollars plus shipping and only adds 3 wider widths (advantage, they make left handed versions).  Can’t wait to start on Paul’s tool chest.

Gluten Free and Dairy free cookies don’t have to be flavorless.

My brother sent me a cookie recipe he found on Pinterest.  Yes Pinterest, the land of many pretty pictures and recipes that never work out!

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches (grain-free, dairy-free)

This one was for chocolate and penut butter cookies with almond butter.   Having no almond butter butter but a bag of almonds from Costco I was intrigued.  I followed the almond butter recipe and using my food processor had almond butter in less than 10 minutes (plus 10 minutes of toasting time).  Having never made almond butter I thought this was quite cool.  I was also slightly disturbed at the amount of oil in the almonds, the same almonds I used to eat by the handful.  I have not tried the granola bar recipe at the almond butter link but its on the list now I know how to make the butter.

I followed the recipe with only one minor change.  As a chocolate fan, I cannot melt semi sweet chips of any sort.  Only the real thing is allowed here in this kitchen so I broke out the AUI Swiss 63% Cuoveture Coins and substituted them for the chips (one can substitute their brand of choice here for dark chocolate).    In addition I did not use coconut sugar, plain granulated white worked just fine.  I did find some refine coconut oil to use for the filling at my local King Soopers.  For the cocoa powder I used Penzey’s dutch processed cocoa powder.

The result, a brownie like cookie with all the chocolatey goodness with a penut butter filling.   For dairy free and gluten free it was fantastic.  The real melted chocolate takes it over the top. And since we made the almond butter we know everything that is going into this cookie so there is no chance of contamination.